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Cross Words: Only One Reason to Stay
Paul the Apostle said that if he had it his way he would have made a quick exit from this world; “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Phil 1:23).  His former way of life - before he had met Christ - held no sway over him. His worldly accomplishments, far greater than the ordinary man, had lost their imaginary glitter. The goals and desires he had once centered his life around had been traded in for a intense longing to be in Heaven with his creator. And he wanted it to be sooner rather than later.
Paul is not alone.  Most every believer has either privately or publicly expressed an intense want to permanently retire in that celestial city.  Some days their thoughts are on nothing else. Especially Mondays.
All this begs the question, why doesn’t God call us home the minute He calls us to become His children?  Or another way to phrase it, if we’re going to heaven anyway, why the need to schlep around on this deteriorating sphere called earth for years on end?
Along with Paul’s desire to be with Christ in heaven was his desire for others to be there with him.  “...but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Phil.1:24). Paul placed his own interests on the back burner to focus on the needs of those around him.
Believers in Christ have not been left on earth to simply go to church, sing hymns, worship God, and eat pot luck casseroles before Wednesday night prayer meetings.  We will be able to do all those things when we get to heaven - save the casseroles I hope!
What we will not be able to do, because there will be no need, is to spread the Gospel. We have been left here first and foremost to share with others what God has shared with us. His forgiveness. His grace. His Son.

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